Every company needs a digital strategy. This is the element that outlines how you reach your goals online and informs your marketing decisions. While formulating a digital strategy is quite straightforward, many organizations need assistance with execution. Creating a digital strategy is the first step towards success in the online realm.
An effective digital strategy could mean success to your company. Take auto manufacturer Renault, for example; with their new digital strategy; they are set to drive an increase of 25% in EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes). To optimize online success, you need a comprehensive digital strategy that works for you. In this article, we shall tackle how to strengthen your digital strategy. Specifically, we shall be looking into how to find reliable advice and education on digital strategies.
Before we can tackle this subject, you need to understand what a digital strategy is and why it is important.
What is a Digital Strategy?
A digital strategy is an opportunity to bring guidance and direction into your company’s approach to “Online.” Your digital strategy focuses on your use of technology to optimize business performance. Whether you are developing a new service or reimagining other current processes, your digital strategy defines how you use technology to create a competitive advantage.
Digital Strategy vs. Digital Transformation
There is a tendency to use the terms digital strategy and digital transformation interchangeably. Do the terms mean the same thing? While digital transformation and digital strategy and closely related, they differ in scope.
Digital transformation influences change in three sectors: operational processes, customer experience, and business models. Digital transformation demands coordination across your entire organization. It involves changes in the business architecture.
Your digital strategy focuses on technology and not just linear improvements. Your digital strategy influences a change in your business model by employing technology to evolve your company into a digital business. Setting a strategy is key to the transformation process. With your strategy in place, you can ensure that technology implementation goes down in a manner that complements your business goals. In short: your strategy drives the success of your transformation.
Your Digital Strategy vs. Your IT Strategy
While your digital strategy finds ways to use technology to transform business activity, your IT strategy seeks to transform technology independently from the rest of your business.
Why is a Digital Strategy so Important?
Without a proper strategy in place, you may find yourself making decisions on the fly from the strength of little research. An effective digital strategy supports and aligns with your overall business objectives.
Social media, the web, mobile, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) profoundly impact society. These variables are, at face value, digital tools, but as the printing press of the past, they have transformed the way we live.
This profound impact of digital tools has shaken up entire sectors (media and retail, for example). Industry giants like Blockbuster, Kodak, Tower Records, and many others had to close their doors due to the “digital wave.” These companies could not evolve in time and adapt to the new digital landscape.
At the onset of a global pandemic, health and government bodies advocated for stay-at-home and social distancing order, and the “new normal” was born. We witnessed the rapid adoption of video conferencing software and the preference for online shopping over in-person purchases.
Across the globe, companies realized that you need to do more than bolting digital programs to the business. You need a strategy; approach your digital transformation on a tactical level.
Strengthening Your Digital Strategy
Below are some items you want to consider refining to sharpen your digital strategy:
a. Increase Your Reach
The first phase of any purchasing cycle is realizing the need. Initially, the customer will browse around your website with no intent to buy. In this phase, the potential customer is interested in gathering information about professional service, browsing news sites, and social media channels.
At this stage of the purchasing phase, you want to influence your potential customers’ needs and desires. Your priority is to reach your audience with information and messages that are relevant to them. As your research tools, you have two main drivers for reach: social media and search engines.
To effectively reach your target audience on social media, here are some effective tips:
- Post some high-quality content
- Target your audience
- Promote your content with social media ads and paid partnerships with influencers
- Publish timeless or long-lasting content on your social media accounts
- Share content that is heavily popular among your audience
As for increasing your reach among search engines, here are a few tips:
- Choose the right SEO tools.
- Invest in on-page as well as off-page optimization
- Keep up with search engine updates.
Other avenues that you can use to drive digital traffic include:
- E-mail marketing
- Ad networks and banner ads
- Publishing content on third-party blogs as well as your own
- Conducting digital PR and damage control
b. Improving Your Website
Once the customer realizes their need, they will want to evaluate their options. At this stage, the potential customer will comb through a couple of websites (which may include your own). At this stage, your website’s performance, navigability, and appearance will help you stand out among your competitors. The task is to convince the customer that you have the best solution, price, and product fit.
Invest some resources in boosting website performance. Ensure that the site can handle all the traffic flowing from social media channels, search engines, and other digital traffic sources. Mobile devices account for over 60% of all web traffic. Ensure that your website is friendly to mobile browsers.
c. Convert More Website Visitors
Once the customer establishes you or your professional service as the best solution, they have to decide on whether to complete the purchase or not. Products that may be too complex for the customer to complete a sale online generate leads. To convert these leads, you need leed conversion tools.
You can convert leads into customers by embedding “Call to Actions” (CTAs) on your content and landing pages (LP). For better conversions, you can implement a system that can take reservations and bookings. This system is perfect for businesses that charge for appointments and time-rentals (hotels, beauty parlours, dental ,etc.)
Now you understand what a digital strategy is and how to strengthen it. How do you get education and advice on digital strategies?
How to Get Advice and Education on Digital Strategies
There are different ways that you can go about sharpening your digital strategy:
- Enroll in a digital strategy course
- Benefit from the experience of digital strategy specialist
To help you comprehend each option, we shall examine each choice in detail.
a. Enroll in a Digital Strategy Course
A digital strategy course is viable for start-ups. In comparison to hiring a professional, signing up for a digital strategy course is cheaper. A digital strategy course will also help you learn a skill that can benefit you for years in the future.
On the downside, a digital strategy course takes some time before you can learn the skill. Even after completing the digital strategy course, it will take a lot of practice and time before you can master the skill. You will make mistakes and run into frustrating moments, but if you have the patience to commit, your digital strategy course will pay off.
The Pros vs. Cons of Enlisting for a Digital Strategy Course
- A digital strategy course is cheaper than hiring the services of a professional.
- The information you get from a digital strategy course is more accurate than what you would get from a blog or video that you are yet to verify its authenticity.
- A digital strategy course will impart a skill that can benefit you for the rest of your life.
- After completing your digital strategy course, it will take some time before you can master the skill.
Where Can You Signup for a Digital Strategy Course?
Below are some of the best places to enroll for a digital strategy course:
- Hyper Island’s Digital Strategy Course
Hyper Island pledges to teach their students how to navigate disruption, uncertainty, and change with its digital strategy course. Hyper Island recognizes that competition is fierce in the digital space. With their digital strategy course, they teach their students how to stand out from the competition.
Hyper Island’s digital strategy course is available online or in person at their Stockholm campus. Below are some of the features of this digital strategy course:
- Learn how to align your business strategy with the risks and opportunities of the digital space.
- Learn how to create a sustainable digital strategy.
- Learn how platform economy and networked society impact individuals, businesses, and the general society.
- Learn processes to apply new technologies to your existing business.
- Digital Strategy Course by edX
On their website, EdinburghX (edX) explains that their digital strategy course equips you with the digital marketing skills that you need to build your business. They focus on the digital landscape and how to use tech to identify business opportunities and minimize risk.
The features of this digital strategy course by edX include:
- It takes 8 weeks (4-6 hours per weeks) to complete this digital strategy course
- The digital strategy course is free, but to add a verified certificate will require a $199 fee
- Online classes are self-paced, and students can study at their own time
- A Digital Strategy Course by the Digital Marketing Institute
The Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) offers its digital strategy course at a diploma level. This digital strategy course covers subjects like digital marketing automation, communication, budget & strategy formulation, and analytics.
Below are some of the features of DMI’s digital strategy course:
- The digital strategy cost will cost you $1368
- The Digital Marketing Institute offers payment plans for its digital strategy course.
- DMI offers globally recognized certification
b. Hiring a Digital Strategy Professional
As an alternative to signing up for a digital strategy course, you can seek a professional’s service. A digital service professional brings experience to the table. This experience helps you to identify the areas to focus your energy and resources on, what to do differently, and the tactics that are or aren’t a fit for your business.
What Characteristics Should You Look For When Looking for a Digital Strategy Agency?
In a society where everyone claims to be a guru in digital marketing, how do you sieve through all that chaff to find your grain? Below are some of the characteristics that define a genuine digital strategy agent:
i. The Strategy Agency Asks the Right Questions
Before your agency can create the ideal digital strategy for your business, it has to ask the right questions. Below is a sample of some of the questions:
- How is your business currently performing?
- Which of your business units are underperforming?
- What are your customer’s expectations from your business?
- Which marketing channels show the most customer activity?
ii. The Agency Should be Willing to Share the Strategy
During the strategy development phase, a genuine strategist will be willing to share sample digital strategies. The strategist should be willing to bounce ideas of you and explain why they are good matches for your business.
With the samples, you can evaluate the agency’s competence and assess the marketing priorities. How will different samples potentially affect the performance of your business? From this standpoint, you can make an informed decision.
iii. A Competent Agency Should be Able to Implement the Strategy Successfully
You want a digital strategist that can implement the strategy it proposes. You should be able to realize the promises and changes that come with this digital strategy.
Why You Should Consider Hiring a Digital Strategist
A digital strategist helps you use technology to advance your business goals and reach. They formulate a roadmap (strategy) that highlights how to strengthen your business areas and how to use technology to identify opportunities.
A professional strategist should provide detailed specifics of the following:
- A Clear Track Record: The agency should show you samples of their work, references, and reviews.
- Clear Milestones: Your strategist should provide clear milestones, deliverables, and timelines. How long will it take to implement the digital strategy? When can you anticipate seeing positive results?
- Business Alignment: The consultant should be able to align their proposed strategy to your larger business goals and explain how the strategy supports your KPIs.
The right digital strategy will help you navigate the digital space. Your plan guides you. It states where you stand, where you want to go, and how to get there. A digital strategist offers their expertise and experience. Sure, you can sign up for a digital strategy course, but it will take practice in order to master the skill.
At Dash, we specialize in web design and digital marketing. With experts in digital and positioning strategy, we can help you take advantage of the digital space opportunities. Once we establish our business’s nature and potential, we deliver a clear roadmap to the completion and implementation of your digital strategy.
Schedule a call, partner with Dash. Let us find you new business. A goal without a plan is a dream, and we have the blueprint for your success. Take control of your business with Dash.